While visiting family, I made a curious discovery in the kitchen: mangoes in the rice bin! Can you guess why? No, it's not some strange way to make Mango with Sticky Rice. As my aunt explained, it's an ages-old technique to speed up the ripening process! Whenever she has green mangoes, she buries them in the rice bin (not on top as in the photo above) and within a day or two they're ready to eat.
We can only guess that burying the mango in rice concentrates its ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone that causes fruit to turn softer and sweeter. It's similar to putting fruit in a paper bag to accelerate ripening. Whether one method is better than the other, we aren't sure.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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